Expelled USC Football Player Wins Title IX Victory

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jul 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

A California state appellate court recently reversed a ruling against former USC kicker Matt Boermeester. The ex-college football player sued the university after a Title IX investigation led to his expulsion in 2017.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. The law prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded schools for admissions, athletics, financial aid, and more, but it also covers sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault.

Until recently, Title IX regulations required any school that knew or should have known about an incident of intimate partner violence among students or employees to investigate and remediate the situation if needed. Schools that failed to do so were often sued by employees or students and subject to sanctions from the Office of Civil Rights, tasked with enforcing Title IX.

The Title IX allegations

USC initiated a Title IX investigation after a witness told his roommate he saw an altercation between Boermeester and his girlfriend, former USC tennis player Zoe Katz, outside his window. The roommate later told his father, USC men's tennis coach Peter Smith, about the incident, and Smith reported the incident to USC, as required by law. USC reported in court filings that its investigation found that in the early hours of January 21, 2017, Boermeester put his neck around Katz's neck, “causing her to cough, and shoved her into a cinder block wall in the alley near her apartment at least twice.”

Boermeester and Katz both vehemently denied the allegation, stating that they were joking around in a parking lot and throwing french fries at one another. Katz did not file a complaint with USC, and Boermeester was never arrested or under criminal investigation. After the school's Title IX investigation, USC expelled Boermeester, and he filed suit in return. The superior court of Los Angeles County denied his petition to set aside the expulsion.

California Court of Appeals overturns the ruling

The California Court of Appeals overturned the superior court's decision, ruling that the disciplinary procedures USC used “were unfair because they denied Boermeester a meaningful opportunity to cross-examine critical witnesses at an in-person hearing.” Those limitations prohibited him from “fully presenting his defense, which was that the eyewitnesses misunderstood what happened between him and [his girlfriend] on January 21, 2017.” The court of appeals remanded the case to the superior court with instructions to allow Boermeester a chance to “directly or indirectly cross-examine witnesses at an in-person hearing.” Boermeester v. Carry, 2020 BL 199382, Cal. Ct. App., 2d Dist., No. B290675, 5/28/20.

The California Court of Appeals' ruling comes the same month that the US Department of Education announced sweeping new rules governing college Title IX investigations. The new regulations require colleges and universities to follow a judicial process that allows the accused the right to cross-examine witnesses, including their accusers. 

If your student is facing a Title IX allegation in college or K-12 schools, or if you have any questions about Title IX or any student discipline issues, contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!


If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.